“Alot of the enjoyment comes for me from seeing progress…”
I guess there are 3 reasons for “not seeing progress”
- You´re not measuring your progress, you´re feeling it. If your amount of “known words” goes up, that´s tangible progress.
- You´re not making progress because you´re not doing anything.
- You´re already at a high level, which makes progress hard to detect. Learning words like “I” and “you” as a beginner feels like progress (because you see them all the time, thinking “I used to not know that”), learning “tailbone” or “cilia” will probably feel less “progressy”…
Measure your progress, don´t “do nothing”, realize that “not seeing progress” might be a result of “already being pretty good”.
If someone who has 10€ earns 10€ euros, he´ll “feel like making progress”, I mean…he has 100% more money than before.
If a millionaire earns 10€, he won´t even notice because his fortune has increased by only 0,01%. Maybe you´re already too wealthy to appreciate money like you used to
“I really can’t get on board with the whole “Just relax and enjoy it” approach, because it’s certainly possible to enjoy doing certain things without actually making any progress.”
Maybe, but learning languages is not one of these things. Every word you read/hear/say/write is progress. I went from “average school English” to whatever level I am at right now without studying English. I just did fun stuff in English → for thousands of hours.
I did the same thing with French. I remember watching “The Walking Dead” after studying French for 6 months or so and only getting the gist of it, then (after 2 or 3 months) I re-watched the first season and I was like “I understand a lot more and all I did was playing video games and watching south park!”. Well, that´s not ALL I did. I admit looking up words from time to time.
Now I´m a sucky beginner at Japanese and I really enjoy it. It´s like being a child again…drawing pictures, listening to music, singing songs, watching cartoons…
“…perhaps I haven’t actually made the desired progress, then doubting whether even though I was enjoying it, if it actually did anything for me.”
Perhaps…the desired progress…doubting…if it actually did anything for me…so much uncertainty in one single sentence. You don´t know if you made progress, so don´t put yourself down for maybe-not-making-the-desired-progress.
You know that you enjoyed it, so that´s good.^^
“I just wanted to know if anyone else had taken a break from it before and it was beneficial for them.”
I think you´re having problems that won´t be solved by taking a break. If you insist on taking a break, spend the time you´d normally spend on language learning on reading alljapaneseallthetime instead. It was written for learners of japanese, but most posts apply to all languages and many of them have to do with feeling sucky, not seeing progress, lacking motivation, lacking confidence, not having enough fun and all that. Japanese is an insanely intimidating language and takes a long time to master , so the articles about “the mental aspects of language learning” are pretty good.^^